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N.K. denies responsibility for S. Korean bank hacking

North Korea on Tuesday said that South Korea’s recent announcement pinpointing it as the culprit for the April 12 cyber attack was a “fabrication,” denying its role in the nation’s worst-ever banking system crash.

The North’s Defense Ministry spokesperson issued a statement, claiming that the announcement last Tuesday was the “same fabrication” as the sinking of the corvette Cheonan, according to its official Korean Central News Agency.

Investigators at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North’s premier intelligence body, orchestrated the “unprecedented cyber terror attack” that paralyzed the banking system of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, or Nonghyup, for several weeks.

“The allegations that the North is responsible for the attack are baseless and ridiculous. (The announcement) is the same fabrication as the sinking of the Cheonan,” said the statement carried by the KCNA.

“Cyber warfare was a special method for invasion ― crafted by the U.S. to attack others without exposing itself to them. If it had asked the U.S. about (how cyber warfare is conducted), the group of traitors (South Koreans) would have been scolded ― as it reveals its ignorance about the basic concept of cyber warfare.”

North Korea has also persistently denied its role in the torpedo attack last March that killed 46 sailors. A multinational investigation team concluded last May that the North sank the 1,200-ton vessel near the western sea border.

The statement also berated Seoul for continuing its “anti-North confrontational policies.”

“By spreading such rumors of North Korea’s responsibility for the cyber attack, (the Seoul government) is seeking to address the crisis stemming from the by-election debacle and shirk the responsibilities for breaking up the national reconciliation and unity,” it said.

Saying the North was behind the attack, prosecutors said that their conclusion came as the methods used in the previous two cyber attacks on a number of key South Korean government and business websites in July 2009 and in March last year were similar to the ones used in last month’s attack.

They also stressed that one of the Internet Protocol addresses used in the attack on the cooperative was identical to that used in last year’s attack.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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